Every Record I Own: Talking Heads – Little Creatures
This was one of the first records I owned. I bought it from the Penny Lane records shop in the Christchurch city centre in 2009/10. Penny Lane is one of the great record shops of New Zealand. It has been based in Addington for decades but sometime in the late 2000s it expanded to a handful of other shops across the towns and malls of Christchurch.
I visited this on it’s opening weekend, and being a poor student only looked through it’s bargain bins and came across two records. I paid $5 for this one. The other one is even more special and I’ll get to it eventually.
This was near the beginning of the record resurgence. There were rare records that everyone knew were really expensive, but it was pretty common to find great records for $5-$10.
Like most people who buy records, I started buying records before I had a regular way to listen to them. My flatmate had a crappy record player which would sometimes be pulled out, but it was unreliable and was an effort. So most my records were only played once or twice in my first few years of collecting.
All my music at this stage was listened to on Mp3s. I still had a growing CD collection, but after a CD was ripped onto my computer it would be put in a stack and probably not listened to again.
Most my music listening was done from a desktop computer that sat in the lounge which had an aux cord permenantly plugged in the back. If someone wanted to plug in their ipod they would have to crawl under the desk to unplug the aux cord. My MP3 collection was around 100gb and Talking Heads was on regular rotation.
I had the albums More Songs About Buildings and Food and Remain in Light, and the Best of Talking Heads compilation on there, so was not very familiar with this album specifically. But I owned it to prove that I was a true fan of Talking Heads even if I didn’t listen to it.
From Little Creatures, I knew the song Road to Nowhere best as it was on regular rotation on Juice 2, the music video channel for boring adults, so I had grown up with it because my stepmum liked that channel, but associated it with boring adult music. It was also on the best of. And She Was was also on the best of. And I knew the song Television Man well because Man or Astroman covered it on their album Experiment Zero, another album on frequent Mp3 rotation.
A year or so later my flatmate upgraded his record player and I inherited his one. I started listening to my records sometimes, but still not often. I then took my mum’s old turntable which hadn’t been used in a couple of decades and had that in my bedroom. Another stereo was set up in the living area with an aux cord for iPods. Talking Heads were on my iPod, but I don’t remember them being a regular listen.
When my friend Simon moved in, we set up a record player in the lounge, and for the first time records became a communal experience rather than something that existed primarily as a collection. He had another couple of Talking Heads records, and Callum who we lived with also had a couple. And they all got quite a lot of play.
From that point on records became a bigger part of how I listened to music. In my next flat I wore out the belt of Mum’s turntable. I continued using it despite it randomly speeding up and slowing down at points as the belt slipped.
Then finally I used the advance from my book to buy a nice stereo set up including a direct drive turntable. Having a nice music setup was something I had been wanting for a decade but never felt comfortable putting money towards it. (Even now there is an issue with my amplifier that needs to be addressed but that’s for another time) but I finally had a chunk of money all at once that I felt obligated to use to buy something nice for myself with,
Now most the music I listen to is on record or CD. I still use Tidal sometimes but usually only when I’m out and about or at work. I still have my MP3 collection, but I try to keep it to things that are not on streaming services or are at risk of one day disappearing from them, so Best of Talking Heads got culled a few years ago.
So Little Creatures has become the (one of two) Talking Heads albums I listen to the most. I tell people I think it’s underrated because it’s not often mentioned as one of their best, but really it’s probably because it’s the one I know best. I always have the option of plugging my phone in and listening to another one, but I never feel the need to. This album jumps out at me when I’m flicking through my records and it’s exactly what I need to fill my Talking Heads need. I’ve had it for 13 years now and I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it.